A story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune last week has to have raised some eyebrows and made people scratch their heads. On second thought, however, perhaps it only highlights a far more common problem.

A trustee of the Bethel Moravian Church, located about 40 miles southwest of Fargo, North Dakota, stopped by the church property Wednesday afternoon. He was there to drop off some towels. As he began fumbling with a door, he saw a man inside – who immediately bolted through another door and fled. The church member called the sheriff's office immediately, and a 22-year-old man was caught and taken into custody. He was using the church's kitchen as a meth lab!

As you probably know, methamphetamines are a significant part of our nation's larger drug problem. Meth can be made from ingredients that are fairly easy to get. But the process for producing the drug is highly volatile, and several people get killed every year from explosions and fires related to illegal labs.

"There have been active methamphetamine labs in the back seats of cars, bathtubs, and abandoned barns," said Sheriff's Lt. Rick Majerus, "but nobody I've talked to has ever heard of a meth lab in a church."

Maybe the guy just didn't know there was a mid-week church gathering that very evening and that he was almost certain to be caught. Maybe he has a fried-on-drugs brain that doesn't have much capacity for reasoning left. Or maybe he simply has no regard for sacred space and holy places.

Holy places should be honored.
We humans have an uncanny ability to misuse not only chemicals and property, but people and relationships as well. An angry boss or co-worker takes out frustration in personal life on people in the work place. Or, looked at in reverse, a person angry from work comes home to abuse members of the family. And, since churches are really collections of people seeking God rather than brick-and-timber structures, games of power and control get played out in them all the time. Because relationships are the most important part of life, all these are examples of sacred space being abused.

Your home is sacred space for its members. Your very body is a temple for the Spirit. Your office or work space is equally holy to the Lord. "Let every detail in your lives — words, actions, whatever — be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way" (Colossians 3:17 MSG)

Holy places should be honored by using them for their intended purposes.